Tragedy struck a primary school near Porayar in Tamil Nadu, when nine students along with a teacher drowned, after the van they were travelling in fell into a temple pond at Kathiripulam village. 11 others only had their luck to thank as they were rescued.
Of the nine students of Kalaivani Mega Matriculation School at Vedaranyam who died, two were brothers -- Jayasurya (4), studying in UKG and Jayapraksh (3) LKG. Their parents had seen them off only a few minutes before the van plunged into
The bodies of five boys and four girls have been fished out by rescue teams, police said. Eight children who lost their lives were kindergarten students while a girl was studying in class II. The lady teacher Suganthi, who also drowned, hailed from nearby Kattaveli village.
The Kamakshi Amman temple pond was full as the region was experiencing heavy rains during the past few days.Mahendra, the bus-driver, who is now absconding, was accused by some of using his mobile at the time of the accident. Eyewitnesses said he lost control of the van after it hit a tree before plunging into the pond. Bad and slippery road conditions had also contributed to the mishap.
Mahendran and his attendant had initially attempted to save the children and in fact rescued some of the 11 kids. But they later fled fearing public reprisal, eyewitnesses said.